No UN aid for Aleppo until Russia’s ceasefire plan guarantees safety also
Reuters, Oct 18 2016
The UN said on Tuesday that Russia’s plan for a ceasefire will not mean any supplies get into besieged eastern Aleppo because Russia, Syria and other groups fighting in the city have not yet given guarantees of safety for aid workers. Syria’s government would also need to overturn its decision last week to refuse to allow aid into the eastern part of the city, where the UN estimates 275,000 civilians and 8,000 rebel fighters are trapped. UN spox J Laerke said:
We need assurances from all parties to the conflict, not just a unilateral announcement that this will happen. We need everybody to give us those assurances before it is immediately useful for us to do anything meaningful.
The ICRC said it was still unclear how much time would be needed to get security guarantees from all sides, including from rebels. Russia said on Monday that Russian and Syrian forces would pause their attacks on Aleppo for eight hours on Thursday to allow civilians and rebels to leave the city, and on Tuesday they halted all air strikes, two days ahead of time. Laerke told a regular briefing in Geneva that Russia had told the UN the ceasefire was for eight hours on more than one consecutive day. He said:
That was my understanding, that it was supposed to be a beginning.
Robert Mardini of the ICRC said:
Our estimate today is that there are close to 50 groups inside eastern Aleppo, it is not just about the Russian and Syrian government.